Looking back on 2018, it has been busier and more varied than I could have imagined. I have spent most of my working hours engaged in 2 main activities: supporting my clients and learning, but as well as that I have written a weekly newspaper column, given educational talks to local charities, support groups and schools and created many new recipes.
The learning which I have done this year has been not only from organised CPD (continued professional development) events, but also from conversations with other practitioners in the breaks at these events, in a professional supervision group, from my own individual research and from my clients themselves. It might seem strange to be learning from my clients – after all, they are meant to be gaining information from me – however, my clients have taught me a number of things this year. The first is the extent to which people will make changes in their lives in order to support their health, with those that have the most debilitating symptoms being the most eager to comply with recommendations. I have also enjoyed learning about different methods that people use to support their health – my clients have introduced me to meditation apps, fitness trackers and online food diaries. Being a bit of a techno-phobe, I am grateful to them for introducing me to these modern wonders!
I have also learned quite a bit about myself this year. When I started my training, I was so excited to be in this wonderful new world of nutrition, devouring nutrition books and following blogs of the trendy wellness movement. However, great as all of that stuff can be for certain people, for many it is alien and off-putting. After all, we have flourished for many generations without chia seeds, quinoa and goji berries! I have discovered that I am much more interested in a no-nonsense approach using natural, whole foods that are easily available and not too expensive. I recommend moderation in all things – exercise, food, stress and sleep, preferring to have a long walk followed by a filling dinner and a good night’s sleep, than run a marathon and drink a protein shake.
2018 has also been my first full year of volunteering at Camden Carer’s Service. I feel truly blessed and humbled to have supported full-time carers who have very challenging lives. Many of them are not well themselves and I aim to give them manageable changes to do in order to look after themselves whilst they are engaged in caring for their loved one. Some of the carers are young people, trying to get their own lives started; some are elderly, barely able to look after themselves; some carers have experienced abuse from the person they are caring for; and others have multiple relatives to care for. All are trying to improve themselves, often with the odds stacked against them. It has truly been an honour to support them this year, and I am looking forward to giving more time in 2019.
In addition to helping clients and doing CPD, I have also forged new relationships with a wide variety of other health practitioners from counsellors to personal trainers, osteopaths to endocrinologists. My most gratifying professional connection has been with the GPs who come to the lunchtime talks I give at their surgeries. Before the first of these talks, I was very nervous to be providing education to such experienced and learned professionals, however I have learned that no-one knows everything about the human body and nutrition, and that all professions can learn from each other. In my new clinic location in Whetstone, I have been enjoying talking part in the GPs’ lunchtime “huddles” where they discuss difficult cases and sometimes ask for my advice!
All in all, it has been a busy and gratifying year… and I have loved every minute. In 2019, I hope to build on my current activities by giving talks in secondary schools and running a food workshop – so watch this space!